NEW DELHI: A plea by Dr Sanjay Kulshrestha, a paediatric surgeon, to the National Green Tribunal says that with the winter setting in, smog and the climbing rate of particulate matter (PM) level in the air is affecting “the lung, heart of the newborn and creates various types of respiratory diseases”. Studies on pregnant women have concluded that “air pollution can increase the chances of birth defects, foetal growth retardation and premature delivery especially in women living close to busy roads”.
The Central government has roped in top doctors from both government and private hospitals, NGOs and the Central Pollution Control Board to prepare a detail report on ‘how air pollution has an adverse effect on foetuses and newborns’. The report will be completed a month’s time.
Dr Neelam Kler, Chairperson, Neonatology, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital warns of a “nuclear holocaust” type of situation if air pollution is not checked immediately. A report by Indian Council of Medical Research and US-D based Health Effects Institute also shows air pollution as the fifth leading cause of death in India.
Dr Keerti Khetan at BLK Super Specialty Hospital said, “A pregnant women with a respiratory problem caused by pollution will deliver a baby with a similar problem, because of the lack of adequate oxygen reaching her brain.”